Rooting Azaleas

tanyagMay 20, 2008

Hi all, I am new to the azalea forum and have gotten two cuttings from my grandmother's tree. Eventually I wish to use them for bonsai. I am worried they may be too large, but according to the Azalea Society of America, cuttings can be 2-5". I know the procedures for trying to accomplish the task and that it is easier for evergreens vs. deciduous (mine are evergreen). They bloom in February here in Texas and they are putting on new growth. These two pieces broke off and he wanted me to try and root them. My question is will I ever need to open the bag to add water and how hot is too hot? The only place I have for them to get a LOT of light but no direct light is outside. We have had a very cool spring but have now started hitting the 90's. Will this be too warm? I can move some of my indoor bonsai from a southwest facing window that gets morning sun but not hot afternoon sun if this would be better. I am about to put them in their pots. I just need to know where to put them and will I need to water. Thanks so much in advance.

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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

That is 2 to 5 inches long, not in diameter.

If they are large, then take cuttings off the ends of the branches. Some people even cut branches into sections and root each section. In general, evergreen azaleas are easy to root.

Do not let sun hit the bag. If you must place them outside, do that. The bags should never need to be watered, but may need to be opened to let some water evaporate if you get too much condensation in the bag.

Lots of luck.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2008 at 2:23PM
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They were five inches long. The diameter was about 1/4"-3/8". I took all of the tip cuttings off of one and left the other bigger. That way I should maybe get at least two that root, right!?! If the big one never roots, I am sure the little ones will. I have five inch pots with bamboo skewers creating a cage around the plant. I watered thoroughly before and after I put in cuttings and placed each container in its own 2 1/2 gallon zip loc bag. The skewers keep the bags from touching the leaves.

I will put them outside today. I read I was to leave them alone for three weeks and then tug gently at one of the smaller cuttings to see if it had rooted. If not, check once a week thereafter. If rooted, close back up for a week, then slowly open bag to harden off and then put each cutting in its own six inch pot and treat normally. I am using 50/30/20 soil conditioner(pine bark fines), vermiculite, and OilDri (high fired clay).

After they root and are in their new pots, how soon would I start fertilizing?

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 7:28AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The directions at the Azalea Society of America at:

and the Rhododendron Society of America

should answer all of these questions.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2008 at 4:30PM
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Hi all again,

So it's been 20 days since I started the rooting experiment with the azalea cuttings from my grandma's shrub. They are on my front porch with NO direct sunlight. They are behind the Japanese Box Hedge and the house is on the other side. I went to open the bags today and there is green and white fuzz growing on the bamboo skewers I used to hold the bag off the leaves. As soon as I opened it, the wind blew some of the fuzz and I am sure it landed on soil and leaves. I tugged at one of the cuttings and it felt like it didn't want to come out, but I doubt it could be rooted that fast. Should I take the skewers out and find something metal to use instead or then do I have to worry about rust? On the AAS forum it said to use a metal coat hanger but I don't own any. Any suggestions please.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2008 at 9:15PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Can you use plastic drinking straws? You may need more since they aren't as strong. You could also put a bamboo skewer or something metal inside the straw to make it stronger.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 9:37AM
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I am afraid the skewers would still get this mold on them. Should I just go ahead and start opening the bags for ventilation?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 9:26PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

You can't leave the bags open until the cuttings have rooted. That usually takes at least 6 to 10 weeks. You can open up the bags to allow excess moisture to escape. The rust won't hurt anything if you use metal, or you can use plastic sticks.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2008 at 10:06PM
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